When women of faith get together, powerful things can happen.
This week, more than 700 Christian women clergy and lay leaders signed a letter strongly denouncing Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s callous attitude towards sexual assault. They also went one step further by calling out Christians who have stood by Trump and even tried to shrug off his misogyny as “macho” talk that’s “low on [Christians’] hierarchy of concerns.”
Well, these Christians are concerned. And they refuse to remain silent about it.
The Huffington Post reached out to a few of the women who signed the letter organized by Faith in Public Life, an advocacy group that amplifies the voices of faith leaders. In their responses, many of the women pointed out the Christian men that are often quoted in the press and are part of Trump’s advisory councils don’t speak for all Christians. As the historian and author Diana Butler Bass told The Huffington Post, it’s women who form the backbone of the church.
“All the women. The women who preach, the women who write theology, the women who pray, the women who serve ... Those who weep and mourn for the pain they’ve suffered,” Bass wrote. “And that church is rarely heard in public because it is too busy living its faith.”
The time has come to listen to these women preach.
Join the conversation at #ChristianWomenPreach.
Rev. Karlene Clark
"It seems that in this election we are forced to say what should be obvious: Jesus would never be on the side of the sexual predator. Many of us feel betrayed by the Christian leaders who continue to endorse this candidate, realizing that for those prominent Christian men, women are less important than partisan politics, and the assault of women by powerful, predatory men is worth little more than a shrug. This Christian pastor will stand for the dignity, respect, and equality of women - because it’s the right thing to do, and because it is exactly what Jesus did."
- Rev. Karlene Clark, Wesley United Methodist Church
Rev. Jennifer Crumpton
"Christian women in particular have been deeply patriarchalized over the course of history, due to the male hierarchy of the church and the theology and doctrine that claims women were made secondarily by God for the service of men, and that men hold dominion not just over the earth, but over women and their bodies. Many Christian women have been forced to ignore, go along with, and even perpetuate misogynistic principles and behavior We are still fighting this undercurrent of male domination today. This election situation is a critical moment in time to stand up to this phenomenon and the willingness with which people dismiss it."
- Rev. Jennifer Crumpton, Femmevangelical
Rev. Traci D. Blackmon
"In 2 Samuel 13, the story of the rape of Tamar, the daughter of King David, is recounted. Although this is not the only rape story contained in scripture, in my opinion it is one of the most insidious ... Ever since reading this text early in my ministry life I have asked myself the question, 'Who will cry for Tamar?'
I believe it is my moral obligation to cry out against the sexual exploitation and violence perpetrated against women. It is my moral obligation to interrupt gender shaming and sexual misconduct wherever it is found.
Unfortunately for us all, these interruptions are currently needed in the inexcusable hateful rhetoric of one of our candidates for the highest office of this land. I believe if I do not speak out, no matter how many or how few are courageous enough to join me, that the harm done to women in our society will be irreparable.
I will never knowingly vote for any candidate who denigrates any human being, all of whom I believe to be created in the image of God. I implore others who profess to love God to join me in this pledge."
- Rev. Traci D. Blackmon, Acting Executive Minister, Justice & Witness Ministries, United Church of Christ
Rev. Loretta Ross
"I signed in order to stand in solidarity with my sisters in our shared faith in a loving God. We are each temples for the Holy Spirit. When anyone attempts to defile the dwelling place of divinity, we all suffer ... Recently, I had felt overwhelmed and deeply burdened by the implications of Trump's behavior. Standing up for goodness, truth, and justice gives me inner strength and peace for the work ahead in these times. I too, as well as my daughters, have been victims of sexual violence and abuse."
- Rev. Loretta Ross, The Sanctuary Foundation for Prayer
Rev. Linda Higgins
"I am a Christian woman who believes that we are all beloved of God and to treat any person as other or less than is the definition of sin. I am called as a Christian to love God and my neighbor as myself. I believe that mothers and fathers should not have to protect their children from the presidential race due to how nasty it is: the language, how it portrays women, people of color or people from other countries. We are all children of God and equal as such.I am also a woman who has lived through experiences of men thinking they could treat me as an object and do not believe any one should president with that view of women."
- Rev. Linda Higgins, St John's Richmond United Church of Christ
Rev. Kimberly Rogers
"The Church must be vocal, it is part of our call to do justice, love kindness and walk humbly with God. None of these basic tenants of our faith are being adhered to when women are being degraded. Donald Trump is not 'the issue,' he is just one more symptom of a much larger problem in our country. I pray that the gift of his presence in this election is that we uncover the mask of sexism and misogyny that leads to rape culture, domestic violence, and inequality in the work place. To live in a world where Donald Trump is president terrifies me, I pray that all can come to understand the danger behind his words and ideology."
- Associate Pastor Rev. Kimberly Rogers, Central Presbyterian Church
Rev. Carol Howard Merritt
"When the news of the video came out, a wave of trauma rippled through my personal relationships and social media feeds. With shattered hearts, we confessed that we had been raped or violated. We knew the indignity of having unannounced and uninvited prodding hands clutching at our intimate selves. We remembered looking up in blurred confusion to see a powerful man lurching over us, devouring our weakness and mortification in order to sate his ravenous ego.
We may have been too bewildered to know how to respond when the assault happened. We may have been held captive, pretending that it didn’t occur in order to avoid retaliation or to save our jobs. We might have filed away our indignity in the thickening folder that included all the other evidence of everyday sexism. But as Christians, we know women do not exist in order to titillate fragile egos in locker rooms. Women were not created so that entitled men can use us as objects for flippant fondling or heinous leering. We proclaim that women are God-bearers, and God has empowered us to bring good news to the poor, bind up the broken hearted, and set the captives free. That’s why I added my voice to this letter."
- Rev. Carol Howard Merritt, Author
Dr. Laura Levens
"As a Christian: Over and over and over again, I have witnessed a cycle of male leaders being easily forgiven for sexual indiscretion, misconduct, and assault, and I have had enough. Men are caught, men say they apologize, and then other Christian leaders exhort the rest of us, especially women, to forgive and continue to trust the man in power because he apologized. I’m done with this message. The Christian message of forgiveness should no longer be co-opted to maintain men in places of power, especially not the office of the President of the United States. It is time that Christians begin speaking about the humanity and dignity of women, and of everyone. Christians are not here to teach the violated to forgive; we are here to stand with the downtrodden. That is what Jesus did."
- Dr. Laura Levens, Assistant Professor of Christian Mission, Baptist Seminary of Kentucky
Diana Butler Bass
"We cannot stand by and allow the Jerry Falwells and James Dobsons of the world claim to speak for God regarding Trump and sexism ... When this election is over -- and Hillary Clinton is the nation's first female president, I hope that we will finally get beyond the idea of 'Christian women leaders' being some special subset of Christian community. Women are the majority of Christians around the world -- we are the heartbeat of living faith. The media spends too much time covering male leaders -- and then a small subset of authoritarian conservative men -- as if they are the voice of the church. They are not. Women are. All the women. The women who preach, the women who write theology, the women who pray, the women who serve, those who hold the hand of the dying. Those who care for children, those who feed the hungry, those who embrace the poor and visit prisoners. Those who weep and mourn for the pain they've suffered. Those who find the God's love is more beautiful and trustworthy than those who abused them. That's the church -- a church that knows no facile forgiveness or partisan spin. But the church that understands grace, peacemaking, and mercy. And that church is rarely heard in public because it is too busy living its faith. Women are the high priests of that church."
- Diana Butler Bass, Author and Historian
The Rev. Jacqueline J. Lewis
“I am an African American, a Christian woman, a clergy person, I have a passionate vision for a world free of bias, discrimination, and hatred. I sign my name in honor of the God who called me into ministry, and in honor of my mentor, a Palestinian Jewish Rabbi we have come to call Jesus. I sign my name because men AND women are created in God’s image, and all human beings are fearfully and wonderfully made. I sign my name to insist on just treatment for every person. My faith demands it. And our nation requires it.”
- The Rev. Jacqueline J. Lewis, Ph.D., Senior Minister, Middle Collegiate Church
Dr. Serene Jones
"As a devoutly Christian woman, I am deeply appalled and righteously enraged by the demeaning and hateful words and actions of Trump towards women - and towards so many others. As a Christian, I believe that God loves all women and girls and has created us with bodies and lives and hopes and dreams that are truly sacred. We are precious in God's eyes. So when Trump demeans and assaults women, I consider it flat out blasphemy; it's against God, it's death-dealing, not life-giving. God calls women to fullness of life and freedom. Trump, it's seems, wants to either grope or imprison us."
- Dr. Serene Jones, President, Union Theological Seminary
Rev. Dr. Susan Thistlethwaite
"I wanted to add my voice as a Christian woman to confront Donald Trump and his blatant manipulation of the Christian faith for political ends. He 'found Jesus' just as he was being nominated as the Republican presidential candidate, and that's only one example. Given his sexually aggressive behavior toward women, in his own words, this is an insult to the Christian faith itself."
- Rev. Dr. Susan Thistlethwaite, Professor of Theology, Chicago Theological Seminary
Rev. Dr. Katharine Henderson
"As a Christian, I believe that all people are created in God's own image. The Republican candidate's repeated denigration and objectification of women offends not only me as a woman, but also my Christian faith that believes in the fundamental equality of all people, and demands that all be treated with dignity and respect."
- Rev. Dr. Katharine Henderson, President, Auburn Seminary
Rev. Dr. Rebecca Todd Peters
"Trump has claimed to be a Christian. He has even claimed to by a Presbyterian. I am an ordained Presbyterian pastor and a Christian ethicist. There is nothing about this man that speaks of Christian virtue or values. His attitude that his wealth and fame translate into the power and privilege to do whatever he wants is in marked disagreement with a faith that calls its followers to service and humility. This is a man who thinks that he has not done anything that requires forgiveness. Yet, we have seen time again that he has insulted, shamed, abused and denigrated women. These actions are not acceptable in society and they are certainly not in line with the Christian understanding that we are to love our neighbors. Given the overwhelming public message that 'Christians support Trump' it’s past time for a counter-narrative that there are plenty of Christians who find him unfit for office."
- Rev. Dr. Rebecca Todd Peters, Professor, Department of Religious Studies, Elon University
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